When social media costs business

18 Feb

In a perfect – but negative – example of Tom Murphy’s PR hype cycle, a firm has lost a multi-million pound long-term contract thanks to social media.

First came the videos posted on YouTube (see links from story in The Sun below) showing building contractors larking around on a construction site.

Then came the mass media exposure: The Sun ran the story (and showed the videos in its online version) and connected the workers to NG Bailey. Then the BBC picked it up. Next word of mouth (I’ve also heard details of this from a non-media source.)

The third act followed. Trade title Building reports that the Morrisons supermarket chain (the construction site was thought to be one of theirs) has as a result ended a 30-year, multi-million pound relationship with Bailey.

Bailey (no relation to this blog’s author) appears unwilling to comment though the company is aware that ‘communication is the key to the success of any business.’ Presumably the contractual details are still with the lawyers.

UPDATE: The company published this statement on 21 February.

5 Responses to “When social media costs business”

  1. Kevin Davis 19/02/2007 at 11:14 am #

    It’s a rough penalty for workers gone awry, though I think this exemplifies why companies need to monitor the internet for negative content and employee-based content.. whether its divulging trade secrets, bad mouthing or just making the company look bad by relation.
    Furthermore, I think it also takes the whole youtube revolution to a new high… I think the ability to distribute content via myspace, youtube, etc. with such ease, encourages users to conduct risky “jackass” like behaviour, solely for the purposes of creating catchy internet videos.
    Kevin Davis
    http://www.pivotalrelations.com/blog

  2. Lydia Cambata 19/02/2007 at 4:58 pm #

    Now we know why businesses are so difficult to get to talk about anything, other than upcoming buy on get one free deals!

  3. sam wilcox 21/02/2007 at 1:16 pm #

    This definitely makes for an interesting case! Can anyone remember the firemen a few months ago who got reprimanded after a YouTube video was broadcast of him going round in a washing machine? Something about ‘idle hands and devils work’ comes to mind!

  4. Ellee 23/02/2007 at 10:02 pm #

    I didn’t know about this. It certainly shows the power of YouTube, how everyone has to be on their best behaviour at all times, I’m sure we will see lots more cases like this.
    Many thanks for your recent comment on my site, btw.

  5. Shane Quigley 09/03/2007 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi Richard, this is just another strong vote for PR consultants to be all over the social network scene. Too many PR companies I talk to have their head in the sand in regards to the power of the web in general and especially the social media element.
    I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on my article: PR is dead, long live SEO!
    http://blog.epiphanysolutions.co.uk/2007/03/pr-is-dead-long-live-seo.html

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